The introduction of Mesut Ozil for a hamstrung Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain just before the half hour mark sparked a sluggish Arsenal into action, who got the go ahead goal just before half-time through Theo Walcott, before running away with the game in the second period, handing out a 5-0 thrashing to Lincoln City to motor into the semi-finals of the FA Cup for the 29th time in their history.
After a poor run of games in the last few weeks, Arsenal and their fans both needed lifting, and the visit of National League side Lincoln City, some 87 places behind the Gunners in the English football hierarchy meant an opportunity was there for a beleaguered Arsene Wenger to get the fans back on his side.
Arsenal struggled though to hit their stride in the first half, perhaps still carrying a hangover from their shellacking at the hands of Bayern Munich in midweek. The closest they came to scoring in the early exchanges was a Theo Walcott effort which was tipped onto his left hand post by Lincoln keeper Paul Farman.
Meanwhile, Lincoln made sure that Arsenal knew that they were in the game with Matt Rhead winning his fair share of headers in the final third and Nathan Arnold forcing a fine save out of Petr Cech to his right after leaving Kieran Gibbs in his wake and cutting onto his left foot.
Arsenal though did seem to find some rhythm as the half wore on and with Ozil’s introduction, the German playmaker was finding pockets of space and was exposing the gulf between the two sides.
After a spell of Arsenal pressure, the Gunners finally got the crucial first goal in stoppage time at the end of the first half with Theo Walcott smashing home via a deflection after Gibbs and Giroud helped the Gunners retain the ball in a crowded box after a quickly taken corner.
Lincoln came out for the second half chasing the game, and that meant there was a lot more space for Arsenal to exploit.
With Ozil pulling the strings there were goals for the taking for the Gunners, who racked up their corner count and had more than 20 efforts on goal as the game wore on.
After missing some half decent chances, Olivier Giroud finally grabbed Arsenal’s second of the game, finishing well with his weaker right foot after Hector Bellerin’s run into the box down the right allowed the pacey wing back to find the Frenchman with an excellent cross.
Five minutes later, Lincoln skipper Luke Waterfall diverted Kieran Gibbs’ cross into his own net to end the game as a contest.
With goals there for the taking Alexis Sanchez scored with a gorgeously taken effort from the edge of the area after leaving defenders in his wake, while Aaron Ramsey, who had missed a handful of chances, finally achieved the Wenger dream, walking one into the net after leaving Farman on the ground.
There was still time for Sanchez to hit the woodwork from a freekick that Ozil should really have taken, considering it was a much better angle for a left footer, and for Arsenal to overplay in certain positions as an exhausted Lincoln struggled to keep up with the considerably better athletes facing them in red and white shirts.
Arsenal though had to settle for a 5-0 win, one which hopefully banishes the ghosts of recent weeks and enables the Gunners to get their season back on track.
Arsenal: Cech, Bellerin, Mustafi, Koscielny, Gibbs, Ramsey, Xhaka (Coquelin), Walcott, Oxlade-Chamberlain (Ozil 27′), Alexis, Giroud (Lucas)
Subs: Martinez, Gabriel, Monreal, Coquelin, Iwobi, Ozil, Lucas
Lincoln City: Farman, Raggett, Habergham, Waterfall, Wood, Woodyard, Power, Muldoon (Margetts 54′), Rhead (Ward), Arnold, Hawkridge
Subs: Etheridge, Marriot, Margetts, MeMenemy, McCombe, Calder, Ward
Final Score: Arsenal 5-0 Lincoln City
Arsenal Scorers: Walcott (45), Giroud (53), Waterfall (58 og), Alexis (73), Ramsey (75)